Dyldam Parramatta Eels second rower David Gower has said that this week’s Round 17 clash against the Wests Tigers will present a great opportunity for the Blue and Gold as they look to kick-start their back half of the year.

The Eels have reflected on their Round 16 victory over the Dragons, and whilst Gower was pleased to come away with the two points, the forward knows the Eels are a lot better than the team that took the park on Saturday night against the Dragons.

“We have been building for the last six weeks and we have continued to improve,” Gower reflected on the Dragons.

“We have just come out of a video session and there are a few things we need to tighten up, but two points is two points, and we know we are a lot better than the team that played on the weekend.” Gower added.

Reflecting on the weekend, Gower said that the squad will take plenty of positives from their 80-minute defensive effort, something Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur praised after the game.

“We were working for each other and it was our 1% efforts that at stages during the year have been lacking,” Gower said.

“It was desperation and I think we maintained our defensive intensity for 80 minutes and that was the biggest positive for us.”

“We are very confident if we defend well, we are going to attack well. Our attack comes off the back of our defence and all season we have had no problem scoring points. We just need to continue to stop them, so it is a big focus for the squad and myself in particular.” Gower added.

The Eels defeated the Dragons 16-12 with winger Semi Radradra crossing for three tries, and Gower praised his fellow forwards for laying a strong platform in the middle.

­­“The Semi triple helps!” Gower laughed.

“But that comes from the boys in the middle creating a platform. If we can do that week to week, Semi is a good finisher and he will take the opportunities that the boys in the middle present.”

Fellow forward Cody Nelson made his Eels debut on the weekend, and Gower praised the debutants 54 tackles, one line break and two offloads effort.

“Our middle has been doing a great job all year and Cody Nelson stepped in on the weekend and did a great job for us,” Gower said.

“Cody came in and did his job, he knew what he had to do; tackle anything that moved and give good service from hooker, and he did that for us.”

“We are down three of our first choice hookers and if he gets the job again this week he won’t let us down.”

With the Eels looking to rectify their Round 5 defeat to the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Monday night, Gower said the Blue and Gold will not take their opposition lightly, despite missing their Origin stars and it provides a great opportunity for the Blue and Gold.

“Last time the Wests Tigers were without a few players they smacked Souths so we definitely won’t be taking them lightly,” Gower said.

“It is a big game for us, we are going into a bye and I think they are as well, so they will see it as a big opportunity to keep in touch with the eight and we are seeing it as a big opportunity to improve and try and kick-start the back half of the year.”

The Eels will take on the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Monday 6 July, kick off at 7pm. Eels Members will also enjoy free reciprocal Member access to the game - click through for more information.